There’s a quarterback issue brewing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and, for the first time in 14 years, it’s time to consider the future.
Ben Roethlisberger has on the backend of his career. With maybe three years left in him, Pittsburgh is in the search for their next gunslinger for the first time in over a decade.
Roethlisberger’s departure could be drastic for the Steelers. The talent on this roster exceeds any in the NFL, but without a quarterback, they’re middle of the pack.
Currently, the only options Pittsburgh has in front of them is Josh Dobbs and Landry Jones. In other words, a second-year player who doesn’t have a regular season snap and a career backup.
Which means it’s time to start looking for options. Whether that’s the NFL Draft, free agency or trading, somehow the Steelers need to secure a quarterback for the future.
Trading for a younger star is out of the question for at least the next two years. Pittsburgh isn’t going out to grab Kirk Cousins just to sit him on the bench for three years.
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Drafting a quarterback this year isn’t too far fetched, but with holes in the defense, a passer isn’t top priority until at least the fifth-round. Unless, for some crazy reason, one of the top five quarterbacks fall to Pittsburgh in the second round, they aren’t going to take a new QB in this year’s draft.
Then, there’s free agency. This offseason, it seems like everyone can use a quarterback. Throughout the offseason, somewhere from five to eight teams could be looking for a new play caller.
With five stars in the draft, though, and Kirk Cousins on the market, most of these teams could find their answer with a big name rather than the second-hand group of guys out there.
This makes Pittsburgh a strong contender to find their next quarterback in a name not many teams are looking at. Maybe someone who spent their rookie contract as a backup? Maybe A.J. McCarron?
The 27-year-old isn’t going to be a future Hall of Famer. After spending most of his career stuck behind Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, McCarron’s career has taken a plunge in the wrong direction since his dominance at Alabama.
He isn’t done yet, though. McCarron has played in 11 games throughout his career, going 2-1 as a starter, and completing 64.7% of his passes for six touchdowns and two interceptions.
McCarron has a long career left ahead of him still. He’s never been given a chance in Cincy. Now, he hits the free agent market, and someone is going to scoop him up. If Pittsburgh thinks he’s worth some money, they should jump all over that.
The former college star looks like the perfect quarterback. His strong arm, great decision making and ability to win is exactly what any NFL team would want when looking for their next passer.
Whether or not McCarron is going to win a Super Bowl in 2018 is extremely unknown and unlikely, but the Steelers shouldn’t even give him a shot. If he was to sit behind Roethlisberger for the next three years, he wouldn’t fulfill his hopes of becoming a starter just yet, but he would be learning behind one of the best to ever play.
Then, once Ben decided his time is up, McCarron could step in and be completely ready to take on the starting role. Not only to fill a void, but to continue winning.
That’s the most important part of this whole situation. In three years, Pittsburgh is still going to be a Super Bowl team. Losing Roethlisberger could take them out of contention, but with the right approach to the future, they won’t need to worry as much.
Bringing in McCarron now allows him to learn the offense and prepare for the starting job. At 29, 30 years old, he’ll be fully equipped with knowledge, talent around him and the growth to continue the Steelers’ winning ways.
It’s simple – don’t take a risk in two years and spend the next four regretting it. McCarron is finally on the market so why not go grab him?
Spend the next three year preparing someone to take over instead of waiting and hoping to land the next star. Because if it doesn’t work, they just wasted one of the best rosters in the NFL for a rookie quarterback.